Song of Songs 8 – “Assorted Love Songs”

gazelle-pictureHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Chapter 8 consists of many discrete sections: the woman describes a desire for public affection, an occurrence under an apple tree is alluded to, the power of love is described, a younger sister is appraised for marriage, the man boasts about his lover, and the man and woman engage in an amorous dialogue.

II. Photo
The book ends with an invitation (v. 14): “Hurry, my beloved, Swift as a gazelle or a young stag, To the hills of spices!”

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: If only it could be as with a brother, As if you had nursed at my mother’s breast: Then I could kiss you When I met you in the street, And no one would despise me. I would lead you, I would bring you To the house of my mother, Of her who taught me — I would let you drink of the spiced wine, Of my pomegranate juice.
vv. 6-7: Let me be a seal upon your heart, Like the seal upon your hand. For love is fierce as death, Passion is mighty as Sheol; Its darts are darts of fire, A blazing flame. Vast floods cannot quench love, Nor rivers drown it. If a man offered all his wealth for love, He would be laughed to scorn.
vv. 8-10:  “We have a little sister, Whose breasts are not yet formed. What shall we do for our sister When she is spoken for? If she be a wall, We will build upon it a silver battlement; If she be a door, We will panel it in cedar.” I am a wall, My breasts are like towers. So I became in his eyes As one who finds favor.

IV. Outline
1-2. The woman’s wish for public affection (“if my lover were my brother…”)
3-4. The woman speaks to her friends
5. An occurrence under an apple tree
6-7. Fidelity; The power of love
8-10. A sister’s marriage arrangement
11-12. The man boasts about his vineyard (= woman) which is greater than King Solomon’s
13-14. Finale: the man’s request and the woman’s invitation

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter at the end of the cycle. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Murphy, Wisdom Literature (Forms of Old Testament Literature)
Photo taken from